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Migrants Rush Past Police into Macedonia

  • VOA News

Migrants fall as they make their way through police to cross Greece's border into Macedonia near Gevgelija, Macedonia, Aug. 22, 2015.

Migrants fall as they make their way through police to cross Greece's border into Macedonia near Gevgelija, Macedonia, Aug. 22, 2015.

Thousands of migrants on Saturday rushed past baton-wielding Macedonian police who attempted to block them from entering the country from Greece. Police fired stun grenades and several people were injured in the border clashes.

Security forces managed to contain hundreds, but several thousand others — many of them Syrian refugees — tore through muddy fields into Macedonian territory after days spent in the open without access to shelter, food or water.

The tumult started when police decided to allow a small group of migrants with young children to cross the frontier and crowds in the back squeezed toward the shielded police wall.

Then thousands of others, including women with babies and men carrying small children, used the moment to run across a field not protected by barbed wire to enter Macedonia.

Police subsequently seemed to regain control of the situation, stopping the flow of people after hurling a dozen stun grenades in some 30 minutes.

Those who managed to cross into Macedonia rushed to the town of Gevgelija and sought taxis or other transportation toward Serbia on their way to the European Union border.

Macedonia declared a state of emergency on Thursday and ordered its borders sealed to migrants, many of them refugees from war who have been entering from Greece at a rate of 2,000 per day en route to Hungary and Europe’s "borderless" Schengen free travel zone.

On Friday, riot police fired tear gas and stun grenades to drive back angry crowds, as a migration crisis brought the conflicts of the Middle East to Europe’s shores.

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